Showcasing the Best of Welsh Business

Local Entrepreneurs Secure Major Investment for Cardiff Business


In 2013, two young Welsh entrepreneurs set up their business with one simple goal; to be the world’s best hotel software company.

You could be forgiven for raising an eyebrow given the company’s modest beginnings. The business, founded by Rhys Swinburn and Deri Green, was just starting to develop its systems, and recruitment consisted of a small number of hungry and highly-skilled minds. To say that the goal was fanciful would have been a fair assessment in 2013.

Fast-forward to 2016 and that goal appears much closer. Following considerable growth, global firm Zonal Retail Data Systems has acquired a majority stake in the Cardiff-based business. Zonal is the leading provider of integrated hospitality management solutions to over 9,000 leisure and hospitality businesses across the UK. The deal with Edinburgh-headquartered firm will allow HLS to accelerate their growth. Revenue is expected to double in the next 12 months and HLS are looking to attract the best talent Wales has to offer.

(Photo by Matthew Horwood)

(Photo by Matthew Horwood)

Managing Director, Rhys Swinburn, said:

“Our ambitions may have seemed high three years ago, but given how the deal with Zonal has come about, we feel vindicated in our decision to aim big. We don’t consider our goals as unreachable, just aspirational.

With five of the current 12 employees starting with the business from day one, Mr Swinburn puts a large portion of the success of the firm down to its culture:

“The importance of any team is crucial; especially in the early stages of a business where people are juggling a number of roles. The dedication and passion from the team has carried HLS to the point we find ourselves at now.

“The culture is something that attracted Zonal very early on; they have made it clear that it is the people they have invested in, not just the product. This is why we aim to invest and develop our people to be leaders within the technology sector.”

Discussing the role Zonal has played since the deal was finalised, Mr Swinburn said:

“Zonal is keen not to disturb what we have. They are there to help accelerate growth and amplify the positives we have in the business, as well as help us with some areas we are less-experienced in such as recruitment and scalable growth. Already, we have forged a great relationship and the ‘fit’, both in terms of strategy and culture seems perfect”

HLS works with leading hotels and offers a cloud-based management system that features a real-time online booking engine, property management capabilities and an integrated reward system.

Zonal Retail Data Systems has offices in Edinburgh, Oxford and Florida.

For more information about High Level Software, please contact [email protected] or call 02920 351 575.